The quality of the rolling felt blanket of Dongxiang Ethnic Group
“The quality of the rolling felt blanket depends on the last procedure”
The handicraft types of Dongxiang nationality are complete and with long history, among them, the rolling felt blanket and zhihezi are manufactured with exquisite technology, and have been famous for a long time.
The regions where Dongxiang nationality lives are rich in sheep’s wool, and the use of wool felt blanket is extremely universal. Therefore, rolling felt is in great vogue among the people of Dongxiang nationality. Almost all men have good commands of this technology. Many felt craftsmen of Dongxiang nationality go to the northern part of Gansu province, and even Qinghai, Xinjiang and other places to engage in rolling felt.
The wool felt blankets of Dongxiang nationality are in great variety. According to the types of wool, they are divided into spring wool felt, sand wool felt and sheep wool felt, etc; according to the specification, they are divided into the four six felt (that is, the width is 4 chi and the length is 6 chi), five seven felt, single felt and the felt specially used in Islam churches; according to the design and color, they are divided into white felt, multicolored felt, red felt and tile green felt, etc. The Dongxiang wool felt blankets enjoy good fame with their softness, comfort, evenness, cleanness, beautifulness, good taste and durability. But the wool of Dongxiang is not special at all, it is all for the exquisite technologies of the felt craftsmen.
Dongxiang nationality mainly has three tools of rolling felt, that is the “three treasures of felt craftsmen: the fluffing bow, the bamboo curtain and the sand willow twig”. Though the tools are simple, the manufacturing procedure is very complex, and is divided into fluffing wool, rolling felt and washing felt, etc. The procedures of fluffing, washing and rolling the edges need exquisite technologies, especially the last procedure of rolling the felt edges is most particular. Because the uneven felt edges cannot be cut by scissors and can only be rolled by hands. The people without abundant experiences and superb technologies cannot manufacture the straight felt edges. So, a proverb of Dongxiang nationality says: “The quality of the rolling felt blanket depends on the last procedure”.